Waters in talks with Mnuchin for testimony on lifting of sanctions on Russian firms

Waters in talks with Mnuchin for testimony on lifting of sanctions on Russian firms
© Anna Moneymaker

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersDemocrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Maxine Waters: Trump 'has done everything that one could even think of to be eligible for impeachment' Maxine Waters: Parts of Trump immigration plan are 'very racist' MORE (D-Calif.) is reportedly in talks with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada READ: Mnuchin refuses to provide Trump's tax returns Treasury Department rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns MORE about testifying before her committee about the Trump administration's decision to ease sanctions on companies tied to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with links to Vladimir Putin.

Politico and CNN report that Waters and Mnuchin spoke on Wednesday about possible dates for Mnuchin's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.

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Waters told reporters on Wednesday that her committee would seek to understand why the Trump administration reduced sanctions on three companies after the billionaire reduced his ownership stake in the firms.

"The delisting of Deripaska was never really debated, so we're going to go after that as soon as we can get Mnuchin in," Waters said, according to CNN. "What we're going to do is we're going to get Mr. Mnuchin into the committee and ask him real pointed questions about delisting."

Representatives for Mnuchin and Waters did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill on Thursday. A Treasury spokesperson confirmed to Politico that the two spoke Wednesday about finding a “mutually agreeable date” for Mnuchin's testimony.

Waters, along with two other Democrats, sent a letter to Mnuchin in late January concerning the decision to lift the sanctions, but says that she has not yet received a response.

“Mr. Deripaska’s ownership stake, as well as benefits afforded to his associates, family members, and related entities, appears designed to allow him to retain significant influence, if not defacto control, over En+, Rusal, and ESE," the Democrats wrote last week in the letter.

“[M]any questions remain unanswered" about the terms under which the sanctions were lifted, the lawmakers added.

Waters is a vocal critic of the Trump administration and famously battled Mnuchin during a Financial Services panel hearing in 2017 during which the lawmaker went viral for "reclaiming [her] time" from Mnuchin during her question period.